While the efficacy of new technology to diagnose potential risk factors in horses is debated in Australia, trainers at Santa Anita are being asked to contribute to a standing MRI scanner.
Leading Melbourne Cup contender and last year’s runner-up, Marmelo, was ruled out of Tuesday’s race after a standing CT scan showed non-displaced fractures of two cannon bones.
English trainer Hughie Morrison has slammed Racing Victoria officials, saying the interpretation of the scan is up for debate.
Morrison and the owners of Marmelo are considering legal options for damages.
RV says the enforced withdrawal of Marmelo and Godolphin’s Ispolini is in the interests of safety, an issue particularly significant at Santa Anita.
Leading into the weekend’s Breeders’ Cup meeting, 36 horses had died at the track since December from various injuries.
Mongolian Groom suffered a catastrophic leg injury in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, the final race of the meeting, and was subsequently euthanised.
The deaths and injuries at Santa Anita have prompted calls for drug free racing and in-depth analysis of the track surfaces.
The leadership of California Thoroughbred Trainers has voted to assist in immediate fund-raising for the Southern California Equine Foundation to buy an equine MRI facility to be added to the Equine Imaging Centre at Santa Anita.
The CTT says the technology has been in use elsewhere with the horse standing while scanned.
With a standing scan, the horse needs only to be sedated while a traditional scan requires general anaesthesia.
The urgency of the fund-raising effort is based on a November 15 deadline to contract for the equipment which would then be installed at Santa Anita before the upcoming winter/spring beginning on December 26.
The addition of the standing MRI would complete the state-of-the-art Santa Anita Imaging Centre which already includes nuclear scintigraphy and will soon add a newly developed equine PET scan.
The Imaging Centre is a companion facility to the Equine Hospital at Santa Anita, founded 40 years ago as the first-ever at an American racetrack.